Displaying items by tag: Hearing
US chipmaker Qualcomm has robustly defended its business practices as the antitrust lawsuit against them draws to a close.
In their closing testimony Qualcomm declared that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had ultimately failed to prove that the chipmaker’s business practices had harmed its competitors during the course of the trial.
FTC have alleged that Qualcomm used its market dominance in its smartphone chip development to force phone suppliers to pay higher patent licensing fees, in other words it claims the company which is headquartered in San Diego had an unfair monopoly.
Both parties now must wait for the ruling from the judiciary, although reports have suggested that the decision is not likely to be delivered any time soon.
In a statement which summarized Qualcomm’s closing argument in court, the company’s EVP and general counsel Don Rosenberg said the FTC hasn’t come close to meeting its burden of proof in this case.
Rosenberg said, “All real-world evidence presented at trial showed how Qualcomm’s years of R&D and innovation fostered competition, and growth for the entire mobile economy to the benefit of consumers around the world.”
In addition to this, Rosenberg highlighted that Qualcomm’s licensing rates were established long before it had set up its lucrative chip business and accurately reflected the value of its comprehensive patent portfolio.
The FTC closed their arguments by stressing to the judiciary that the powerful chipmaker had used its muscle and dominance in the 3G and 4G chip market to force smartphone manufacturers like Apple to sing licensing agreements with excessively high royalties.
Prosecutors on behalf of FTC argued this approach would continue in the 5G era if Qualcomm isn’t stopped.
During the trial, the FTC called witnesses from a number of handset companies including Apple, Samsung, Intel and Huawei to testify that Qualcomm had used unfair practices, harming competition in the industry.
American Multinational Telecommunications conglomerate AT&T has defended its acquisition of Time Warner in a deal which was worth $84.5 billion. The CEO of AT&T Randall Stephenson was forced to defend the deal and presented his case in a hearing in front of US Senators. Stephenson highlighted the pro-competition benefits of the merger and described the deal as the ‘classic vertical merger’.
When the deal was announced in October it was greeted frostily by lawmakers, but following the presentation of the merger the tone and fears over the partnership seems to have subsided somewhat. During the US presidential election campaign, when news circulated of the deal, Donald Trump said if he were elected he would block the merger. He had singled out CNN, the cable news network owned by Time Warner, with particular rancour for its election coverage at the time.
He has since made no further comment in relation to the hearing which got underway yesterday, and while people seemed to be more receptive to this massive merger, one US Senator expressed his grave concerns over the deal.
US Senator, Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said: “I have serious concerns about this transaction. The deal potentially has serious negative impacts on competition and on consumers.”
During the hearing, AT&T and Time Warner pitched a message that catered to the new administration: a populist promise of lower prices and the potential to build more wireless infrastructure through the merger. While AT&T and Time Warner are powerhouses, they presented themselves as weaker rivals to the cable industry and Silicon Valley tech companies
AT&T, a telecom giant, and Time Warner, which owns CNN and HBO, had said in October that AT&T would buy Time Warner to create a mobile video powerhouse. The hearing may have implications beyond this deal, with the comments potentially encouraging more acquisitions by companies that have been waiting out the Obama administration, which has rejected several mergers.
Consumer groups have rejected the characterization of AT&T and Time Warner as disadvantaged rivals, saying a combined company would create a powerhouse that all cable providers and networks would have to negotiate with.
“If a single company is able to control so many key inputs to online video, this new market could be snuffed out,” said Gene Kimmelman, president and chief executive of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit consumer group, at the hearing.
After today’s session the case will go through several other committees and official departments, including potentially the FCC, before a final ruling will be made.